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Monday, Aug. 31, 2009

Diaby own goal gifts United three points

MANCHESTER, England (AP) Arsenal midfielder Abou Diaby headed into his own goal to gift Manchester United a 2-1 victory and condemn his side to its first loss of the season in the English Premier League on Saturday.

Diaby was under no pressure from United when he turned in Ryan Giggs' 64th-minute free kick, giving the English champion its 1,000th home win in the top flight.

Wayne Rooney had leveled from the penalty spot five minutes earlier after Andrei Arshavin's thunderous strike gave Arsenal a halftime lead.

The Gunners thought they had made it 2-2 in the fifth minute of stoppage time when Robin van Persie's shot found the net, but it was ruled out because William Gallas was adjudged to be offside.

After two straight wins, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger's frustration was clear as he kicked a water bottle high into the air and was sent into the stands by referee Mike Dean despite there being just seconds remaining.

"I didn't know you were not allowed to kick a water bottle, although it was a good kick," Wenger said. "What is most difficult to take is that we were the better team but still lost the game.

"We got punished on two goals. It is beyond belief. When you play like that to go home with no points is very difficult to accept."

But it gave Alex Ferguson the win demanded by the United manager after he highlighted improving against title-race rivals as crucial to the quest for a fourth straight Premier League crown.

"One down at halftime, it's always an uphill task against a team of Arsenal's capabilities," Ferguson said. "We had to dig deep and I think in fairness we really did perform well in the second half."

Ronaldo, Real win

MADRID (AP) Cristiano Ronaldo began his Real Madrid career with a goal in a 3-2 victory Saturday over Deportivo La Coruna to open the Spanish league season.

Madrid's record signing scored a penalty in the 35th minute after Raul Gonzalez, who scored Madrid's opener in the 26th, was tripped up by Deportivo goalkeeper Daniel Aranzubia inside the area.

Deportivo twice came from behind to equalize through Ivan "Riki" Sanchez and Juan Carlos Valeron before Lassana Diarra scored the winner in the 60th in front of 80,000 spectators at Santiago Bernabeu stadium — the same number that attended Ronaldo's presentation following his $135 million transfer from Manchester United.



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